Azerbaijan defender Sokolov fails doping test

November 24, 2006

BAKU, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan international Sergei Sokolov has been provisionally suspended by UEFA after failing a doping test following last month's Euro 2008 qualifier against Belgium.

European soccer's governing body said that Sokolov had tested positive for the banned substance Betamethasone after the Group A qualifier in Brussels on Oct. 11, which Belgium won 3-0.

UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body provisionally suspended Sokolov on Wednesday, and will deal with the case on Dec. 7.

The Ukraine-born defender did not request an analysis of the B sample.

The 28-year-old, who plays for Azeri Cup winners Karabagh Agdam, has protested his innocence saying he did not knowingly take any prohibited substances.

An official with the Azerbaijan soccer federation said that Sokolov was not to blame for the positive test.

'I think you have to blame the club's doctors who were treating him and gave him the medicine,' said the official, who declined to give out his name.